Personalized Navigation Comes to Microsoft Sway

Now, users can hold "sway" over how they experience presentations made with the software.

Microsoft Sway presentations

Sway, Microsoft's Web- and mobile-optimized presentation software, now puts users in control.

A recent update allows users to select a viewing experience that suits their preferences, announced the company on April 14. A new set of controls in the viewing mode allows users to select new navigation layouts, allowing them to explore so-called Sways vertically or in the PowerPoint-like presentation mode.

Artists, galleries and users that employ Sway to write interactive, visually rich presentations can now offer users additional ways of exploring their image-based content.

"We also heard that you want to be able to interact with photos when they're in full screen on Sway, so we worked on a few ways to enhance this experience," wrote the Microsoft Sway team in a blog post. "Whether you use Sway on the Web, Windows or iOS app, you can now zoom in on photos as well as navigate through groups of photos in full screen using touch, your keyboard or mouse."

Microsoft also added the ability to incorporate videos directly into Sways, in addition to existing support for embedding videos from YouTube, Vimeo and other online sources. Now, the software allows users to upload their own videos or insert videos from YouTube and Microsoft's own cloud file storage service, OneDrive.

Finally, the company announced it had added support for 14 more languages, namely Afrikaans, Albanian, Amharic, Azerbaijani, Belarusian, English (UK), Filipino, Hausa, Icelandic, Kannada, Kiswahili, Macedonian, Uzbek and Vietnamese.

Like most of Microsoft's cloud-enable software nowadays, Sway has been steadily gaining more functionality as the months roll on.

In early March, Microsoft announced Living Images support. Similar to Live Photos in iOS, the Living Images feature in some Windows 10 Lumia phones captures a few seconds of users snapping pictures. The result is a GIF-like video snippet that adds a little flair to an otherwise still photo.

The software maker also added a new "Tell your story with Sway" option to its Microsoft Photos app. Clicking the button automatically uploads selected albums to Sway and organizes images into customizable slide shows and interactive stories.

In a nod to business users, the company added support for Power BI reports in February. Power BI is Microsoft's cloud-based business intelligence and analytics visualization software. Further, the company added a new Recent view that displays Office documents stored on OneDrive that users most recently worked on.

Also in February, Microsoft revealed an easier way for webmasters and bloggers to add Sways to their own Websites.

"Sway is now supported by and oEmbed, enabling you to easily transform links into embedded content," stated the company in a Feb. 19 announcement. "This means that if you want to embed a Sway on a Web page, you're creating with a third-party service that supports or oEmbed (such as, you can simply paste the Sway URL. The Sway is embedded on the Web page without you having to copy and paste a longer, iframe-formatted embed code."

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...